Synopses & Reviews
Thousands of students have successfully improved their writing and design skills using Anderson's TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION: A READER-CENTERED APPROACH. Known for its treatment of the rhetorical situation and coverage of usability and persuasion, this edition contains new chapters and an innovative, visually oriented design that will engage today's students.
"In general, students appreciate a textbook such as Anderson's because it is focused on writing for the workplace and real situations, rather than academic writing. I appreciate how Anderson makes this distinction. I think students would find the writing strategies and forms for workplace writing more applicable to their personal and academic lives."
"The book has thorough coverage of genres of technical writing (on-paper as well as on-screen genres). Excellent details on purpose, process and structures. Very well done tutorials and checklists."
"The reader-centered approach is the most practical and straightforward way to help students write to communicate and for a purpose outside of their own enjoyment and for reasons other than showing what they know as they have been doing in school."
Thousands have successfully improved their writing and design skills using Anderson's TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION: A READER-CENTERED APPROACH. Guiding you step by step through the writing process, this new edition includes added coverage digital communication, team communication, the latest APA and MLA citation guidelines, a new visual design, and much more.
About the Author
Paul V. Anderson is Director of Writing Across the University at Elon University in Elon, NC. He was previously Director of the Roger and Joyce L. Howe Center for Writing Excellence at Miami University (Ohio), where he also served as the founding director of the university's programs in technical and scientific communication. To support various individual and collaborative projects, he has received more than $1,000,000 in external grants for research and program development in technical communication. As a researcher and consultant to business and government, Anderson has conducted workshops and made presentations in Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa, as well as across the United States. His publications, which have won awards from the Society for Technical Communication and the National Council of Teachers of English, address such topics as technical communication practice and theory, ethical issues in research and teaching, research methods, pedagogy, and assessment. Anderson has been selected as a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, Association of Teachers of Technical Writing, and Miami University's Institute of Environmental Science.
Table of Contents
PART I: INTRODUCTION. 1. Communication, Your Career, and This Book. Communication Expertise Will Be Critical to Your Success. Characteristics of Workplace Writing. At Work, Writing Is an Action. The Main Advice of This Book: Think Constantly about Your Readers. Qualities of Effective On-the-Job Communication: Usability and Persuasiveness. The Dynamic Interaction between Your Communication and Your Readers. Some Reader-Centered Strategies You Can Begin Using Now. Communicating Ethically. What Lies Ahead in This Book. Guidelines, Your Creativity, and Your Good Judgment. Case: Help Mickey Chelini Select the Right Forklift Truck. 2. Overview of the Reader-Centered Communication Process: Obtaining a Job. Central Principles of the Reader-Centered Approach. A Reader-Centered Approach to Writing Your Resume. Writer's Tutorial: Using Tables to Design a Resume. Electronic Resumes: Special Considerations. A Reader-Centered Approach to Writing Your Job Application Letter. Ethical Issues in the Job Search. Writing for Employment in Other Countries. Interviewing Effectively and Displaying Your Work. Conclusion. Case: Advising Patricia. PART II: DEFINING YOUR COMMUNICATION'S OBJECTIVES. 3. Defining Your Communication's Objectives: Purpose, Reader, Context. Guideline 1 Create a Mental Movie of Your Reader in the Act of Reading. Guidelines for Describing Your Communication's Purpose. Guideline 2 Describe the Task Your Communication Will Help Your Reader Perform. Guideline 3 Describe the Way You Want Your Communication to Alter Your Reader's Attitudes. Guidelines for Creating a Profile of Your Reader. Guideline 4 Describe Your Reader's Professional Characteristics. Guideline 5 Global Guideline: Describe Your Reader's Cultural Characteristics. Guideline 6 Learn Who ALL Your Readers Will Be. Guidelines for Understanding Your Reader's Context. Guideline 7 Describe the Context in Which Your Reader Will Read. Guidelines for Other Important Considerations. Guideline 8 Identify Any Constraints on the Way You Write. Guideline 9 Ethics Guideline: Identify Your Communication's Stakeholders. Conclusion. Case: Announcing the Smoking Ban. PART III: PLANNING. 4. Planning for Usability. Process for Planning for Usability. Guideline 1 Identify The Information Your Readers Need. Guideline 2 Organize Around Your Readers' Tasks. Guideline 3 Identify Ways to Help Readers Quickly Find What They Want. Techniques for Planning for Usability. Guideline 4 Look for a Technical Writing Superstructure You Can Adapt. Guideline 5 Plan Your Graphics. Guideline 6 Outline, If This Would Be Helpful. Guideline 7 Global Guideline: Determine Your Readers' Cultural Expectations About What Makes a Communication Usable. Guideline 8 Check Your Plans With Your Readers. Guideline 9 Ethics Guideline: Investigate Stakeholder Impacts. Conclusion. Case: Filling the Distance Learning Classroom. 5. Planning Your Persuasive Strategies. Persuasion to Influence Attitudes and Action. Persuasion to Help a Team Explore Ideas Collaboratively. How Persuasion Works. The Sources of This Chapter's Advice. Guideline 1 Listen--and Respond Flexibly to What You Hear. Guideline 2 Focus on Your Readers' Goals and Values. Guideline 3 Address--and Learn from--Your Readers' Concerns and Counterarguments. Guideline 4 Reason Soundly. Guideline 5 Organize to Create a Favorable Response. Guideline 6 Build an Effective Relationship with Your Readers. Guideline 7 Decide Whether to Appeal to Your Readers' Emotions. Guideline 8 Global Guideline: Adapt Your Persuasive Strategies to Your Readers' Cultural Background. Guideline 9 Ethics Guideline: Employ Ethical Persuasive Techniques. Conclusion. Case: Debating a Company Drug-Testing Program. 6. Conducting Reader-Centered Research. Special Characteristics of the On-the-Job Research. What Readers Want. Guiding You through the Reader-Centered Information-Gathering Process. Guideline 1 Define Your Research Objectives. Guideline 2 Identify the Full Range of Sources that May Have Helpful Information. Guideline 3 Gather Broad, Credible Information from Each Source. Guideline 4 Gather Information that Can Be Analyzed in Subgroups. Guideline 5 Create an Efficient and Productive Research Plan. Guideline 6 Carefully Evaluate What You Find. Guideline 7 Take Careful Notes. Guideline 8 Ethics Guideline: Observe Intellectual Property Law and Document Your Sources. Conclusion. Writer's Reference Guide to Using Five Reader-Centered Research Methods. Exploring Your Own Memory and Creativity. Searching the Internet. Writer's Tutorial: Three Ways to Search Efficiently on the Internet. Using the Library. Interviewing. Writer's Tutorial: Conducting Efficient Library Research. Conducting a Survey. 7. Analyzing and Interpreting Information and Data for Your Readers. Guiding Your Through the Reader-Centered Process for Analyzing Information and Data. Guideline 1 Review Your Research Objectives. Guideline 2 Arrange Your Information in an Analyzable Form. Guideline 3 Find Meaningful Relationships in the Information. Guideline 4 Examine Subgroups of Information. Guideline 5 Interpret the Relationships for Your Readers. Guideline 6 Identify the Significance of the Relationships to Your Readers. Guideline 7 Recommend Actions Based on Your Analysis. Guideline 8 Think Critically Throughout Your Analysis. Conclusion. PART IV: DRAFTING PROSE ELEMENTS. 8. Drafting Paragraphs, Sections, and Chapters. The Bridge from Planning to Drafting. The Similarities of Paragraphs, Sections, and Chapters. Guidelines for Beginning a Segment. Guideline 1 Begin by Announcing Your Topic. How Topic Statements Increase Usability. Guideline 2 Present Your Generalizations Before Your Details. Guidelines for Organizing the Information in Your Segments. Guideline 3 Move from Most Important to Least Important. Guideline 4 Consult Conventional Strategies When Having Difficulties Organizing. Guideline 5 Global Guideline: Consider Your Readers' Cultural Backgrounds When Organizing. Guidelines for Helping Readers See the Organization of Your Segments. Guideline 6 Add Signposts that Create a Map of Your Communication's Organization. Guideline 7 Smooth the Flow of Thought from Sentence to Sentence. Guideline 8 Ethics Guideline: Examine the Human Consequences of What You're Drafting. Conclusion. Case: Increasing Organ Donations. Writer's Reference Guide to Using Seven Reader-Centered Organizational Patterns. Formal Classification (Grouping Facts). Informal Classification (Grouping Facts). Comparison. Description of an Object (Partitioning). Description of a Process (Segmenting). Cause and Effect. Problem and Solution. Combinations of Patterns. 9. Developing an Effective Style. Creating Your Voice. Guideline 1 Find Out What's Expected. Guideline 2 Consider the Roles Your Voice Creates for Your Readers and You. Guideline 3 Consider How Your Attitude toward Your Subject Will Affect Your Readers. Guideline 4 Say Things in Your Own Words. Guideline 5 Global Guideline: Adapt Your Voice to Your Readers' Cultural Background. Guideline 6 Ethics Guideline: Avoid Stereotypes. Constructing Sentences. Guideline 1 Simplify Your Sentences. Guideline 2 Put the Action in Your Verbs. Guideline 3 Use the Active Voice Unless You Have a Good Reason to Use the Passive Voice. Guideline 4 Emphasize What's Most Important. Guideline 5 Vary Your Sentence Length and Structure. Guideline 6 Global Guideline: Adapt Your Sentences for Readers Who Are Not Fluent in Your Language. Selecting Words. Guideline 1 Use Concrete, Specific Words. Guideline 2 Use Specialized Terms When--and Only When--Your Readers Will Understand Them. Guideline 3 Use Words Accurately. Guideline 4 Choose Plain Words Over Fancy Ones. Guideline 5 Choose Words with Appropriate Associations. Guideline 6 Global Guideline: Consider Your Readers' Cultural Background When Choosing Words. Guideline 7 Ethics Guideline: Use Inclusive Language. Conclusion. 10. Beginning a Communication. Introduction to Guidelines 1 through 3. Guideline 1 Give Your Readers a Reason to Pay Attention. Guideline 2 State Your Main Point. Guideline 3 Tell Your Readers What to Expect. Guideline 4 Encourage Openness to Your Message. Guideline 5 Provide Necessary Background Information. Guideline 6 Include a Summary Unless Your Communication Is Very Short. Guideline 7 Adjust the Length of Your Beginning to Your Readers' Needs. Guideline 8 Global Guideline: Adapt Your Beginning to Your Readers' Cultural Background. Guideline 9 Ethics Guideline: Begin to Address Unethical Practices Promptly--and Strategically. Conclusion. 11. Ending a Communication. Guideline 1 After You've Made Your Last Point, Stop. Guideline 2 Repeat Your Main Point. Guideline 3 Summarize Your Key Points. Guideline 4 Refer to a Goal Stated Earlier in Your Communication. Guideline 5 Focus on a Key Feeling. Guideline 6 Tell Your Readers How to Get Assistance or More Information. Guideline 7 Tell Your Readers What to Do Next. Guideline 8 Identify Any Further Study That Is Needed. Guideline 9 Follow Applicable Social Conventions. Conclusion. 12. Writing Reader-Centered Front and Back Matter. How Transmittal Letters, Covers, and Front and Back Matter Increase Usability and Persuasiveness. Guideline 1 Review the Ways Your Readers Will Use the Communication. Guideline 2 Review Your Communication's Persuasive Goals. Guideline 3 Find Out What's Required. Guideline 4 Find Out What's Expected. Guideline 5 Evaluate and Revise Your Front and Back Matter. Conventions and Local Practice. Writing a Reader-Centered Transmittal Letter. Writing a Reader-Centered Cover. Writing Reader-Centered Front Matter. Writing Reader-Centered Back Matter. PART V: DRAFTING VISUAL ELEMENTS. 13. Creating Reader-Centered Graphics. A Reader-Centered Approach to Creating Graphics. Guideline 1 Look for Places Where Graphics Can Increase Your Communication's Usefulness and Persuasiveness. Writer's Tutorial: Graphics Help Readers Understand and Use Information. Guideline 2 Select the Type of Graphic That Will Be Most Effective at Achieving Your Objectives. Guideline 3 Make Each Graphic Easy to Understand and Use. Guideline 4 Use Color to Support Your Message. Guideline 5 Use Graphics Software and Existing Graphics Effectively. Guideline 6 Integrate Your Graphics with Your Text. Guideline 7 Get Permission and Cite the Sources for Your Graphics. Writer's Tutorial: Creating Reader-Centered Graphs with a Spreadsheet Program. Guideline 8 Global Guideline: Adapt Your Graphics When Writing to Readers in Other Cultures. Guideline 9 Ethics Guideline: Avoid Graphics That Mislead. Conclusion. Writer's Reference Guide to Creating Eleven Types of Reader-Centered Graphics. Tables. Line Graphs. Bar Graphs. Pictographs. Pie Charts. Photographs. Drawings. Screen Shots. Flowcharts. Organizational Charts. Schedule Charts. 14. Designing Reader-Centered Pages and Documents. A Reader-Centered Approach to Design. Design Elements of a Communication. Guideline 1 Begin by Considering Your Readers and Purpose. Guideline 2 Create a Grid to Serve as the Visual Framework for Your Pages. Writer's Tutorial: Designing Grid Patterns for Print. Introduction to Guidelines 3 through 6. Guideline 3 Align Related Elements with One Another. Guideline 4 Group Related Items Visually. Guideline 5 Use Contrast to Establish Hierarchy and Focus. Using Word Processors to Create Page Designs. Guideline 6 Use Repetition to Unify Your Communication Visually. Guideline 7 Select Type That Is Easy to Read. Guideline 8 Design Your Overall Document for Ease of Use and Attractiveness. Conclusion. Use What You've Learned. PART VI: REVISING. 15. Revising Your Drafts. The Three Activities of Revising. Checking Your Draft Yourself. Guideline 1 Check from Your Readers' Point of View. Guideline 2 Check from Your Employer's Point of View. Guideline 3 Distance Yourself from Your Draft. Guideline 4 Read Your Draft More Than Once, Changing Your Focus Each Time. Guideline 5 Use Computer Aids to Find (But Not to Cure) Possible Problems. Guideline 6 Ethics Guideline: Consider the Stakeholders' Perspective. Reviewing. Guideline 1 Discuss the Objectives of the Communication and the Review. Guideline 2 Build a Positive Interpersonal Relationship with Your Reviewers or Writer. Guideline 3 Rank Suggested Revisions--and Distinguish Matters of Substance from Matters of Taste. Guideline 4 Explore Fully the Reasons for All Suggestions. Guideline 5 Convey Suggestions to the Writer in the Most Helpful Way. Guideline 6 Ethics Guideline: Review from the Stakeholders' Perspective. Guidelines for Managing Your Revising Time. Guideline 1 Adjust Your Effort to the Situation. Guideline 2 Make the Most Significant Revisions First. Guideline 3 Be Diplomatic. Guideline 4 To Revise Well, Follow the Guidelines for Writing Well. Guideline 5 Revise to Learn. Conclusion. 16. Testing Drafts for Usability and Persuasiveness. The Logic of Testing. Guideline 1 Establish Your Test Objectives. Guideline 2 Pick Test Readers Who Truly Represent Your Target Readers. Guideline 3 Focus on Usability: Ask Your Test Readers to Use Your Draft the Same Way Your Target Readers Will. Guideline 4 Focus on Persuasiveness: Learn How Your Draft Affects Your Readers' Attitudes. Guideline 5 Interview Your Test Readers after They Have Read and Used Your Draft. Guideline 6 Avoid Biasing Your Test Results. Guideline 7 Interpret Your Results Thoughtfully. Guideline 8 Test Early and Often. Guideline 9 Global Guideline: With Communications for Readers in Other Cultures, Choose Test Readers from the Culture. Guideline 10 Ethics Guideline: Obtain Informed Consent from Your Test Readers. Conclusion. PART VII: APPLICATIONS OF THE READER-CENTERED APPROACH. 17. Communicating and Collaborating in the Globally Networked World. Corresponding Digitally. Writing Collaboratively Online. Meeting virtually. 18. Creating Communications with a Team. Varieties of Team Structures. Guideline 1 Develop a Shared Understanding of the Communication's Objectives. Guideline 2 Make and Share Detailed Plans. Guideline 3 Make a Project Schedule. Guideline 4 Share Leadership Responsibilities. Guideline 5 Make Meetings Efficient. Guideline 6 Encourage Discussion, Debate, and Diversity of Ideas. Guideline 7 Choose the Computer Technology Best Suited to Your Team's Project. Guideline 8 Global Guideline: Be Sensitive to Possible Cultural and Gender Differences in Team Interactions. Guideline 9 For Virtual Teams, Foster Personal Relationships and Conversational Interchanges. Conclusion. 19. Creating and Delivering Listener-Centered Oral Presentations. Guideline 1 Define Your Presentation's Objectives. Guideline 2 Plan the Verbal and Visual Parts of Your Presentation as a Single Package. Writer's Tutorial: Creating a Listener-Centered Presentation. Guideline 3 Focus on a Few Main Points. Guideline 4 Use a Simple Structure--and Help Your Listeners Follow It. Guideline 5 Speak in a Conversational Style. Guideline 6 Create Easy-to-Read, Understandable Graphics. Guideline 7 Involve Your Audience in Your Presentation. Guideline 8 Prepare for Interruptions and Questions--and Respond Courteously. Guideline 9 Global Guideline: Adapt to Your Audience's Cultural Background. Guideline 10 Rehearse. Guideline 11 Accept Your Nervousness--and Work with It. Making Team Presentations. Conclusion. 20. Creating Reader-Centered Web Pages and Websites. Creating a Website, Creating a Digital Portfolio. Digital Portfolio Websites. Writer's Tutorial: Using a Word Processor to Create a Digital Portfolio. Guidelines for Defining Objectives. Guideline 1 Learn About Your Site's Readers and Define Its Purpose. Guidelines for Planning. Guideline 2 Create the Map for a Site That Includes What Your Readers Want and Enables Them to Get It Quickly. Guideline 3 Gather the Information Your Readers Need. Guideline 4 Ethics Guideline: Respect Intellectual Property and Provide Valid Information. Guidelines for Drafting. Guideline 5 Design Pages That Are Easy to Use and Attractive. Writer's Tutorial: Designing Grid Patterns for Web Pages. Guideline 6 Provide Navigational Aids That Help Your Readers Move Quickly through Your Site to the Information They Want. Guideline 7 Unify Your Site Verbally and Visually. Guideline 8 Ethics Guideline: Construct a Site That Readers with Disabilities Can Use. Guideline 9 Global Guideline: Design Your Site for International and Multicultural Readers. Guideline 10 Help Readers Find Your Site on the Internet. Revising Guideline. Guideline 11 Test Your Site Before Launching It. Writer's Guide and Other Resources. Conclusion. 21. Managing Client and Service-Learning Projects. Overall Project Management Strategy. Guideline 1 Determine Exactly What Your Client Wants and Why. Guideline 2 Develop Your Own Assessment of the Situation. Guideline 3 Create a Project Management Plan. Guideline 4 Submit a Written Proposal to Your Client--and Ask for a Written Agreement. Guideline 5 Communicate with Your Client Often--Especially at All Major Decisions. Guideline 6 Advocate and Educate, But Defer to Your Client. Guideline 7 Hand Off the Project in a Helpful Way. Conclusion. PART VIII: SUPERSTRUCTURES. 22. Writing Reader-Centered Letters and Memos. Guideline 1 Adopt a Reader-Centered "You-Attitude." Guideline 2 State Your Main Point Up Front--Unless Your Reader Will React Negatively. Guideline 3 Keep It Short Guideline 4 Give Your Readers the Background They Need. Guideline 5 Use Headings, Lists, and Graphics. Guideline 6 Global Guideline: Learn the Customs of Your Readers' Culture. Guideline 7 Follow Format Conventions. Writing Reader-Centered Letters. Writer's Tutorial: Writing Letters. Writing Reader-Centered Memos. Writer's Tutorial: Writing Memos. 23. Writing Reader-Centered Proposals. The Variety of Proposal-Writing Situations. Features of Proposals That Help You. The Questions Readers Ask Most Often. Superstructure for Proposals. Guiding You Through the Process of Preparing Proposals. Crafting the Major Elements of a Proposal. Sample Proposal. Writer's Guides and Other Resources. 24. Writing Reader-Centered Empirical Research Reports. Typical Writing Situations. Features of Empirical Research Reports That Help You. The Questions Readers Ask Most Often. Superstructure for Empirical Research Reports. Guiding You Through the Process of Preparing Empirical Research Reports. Crafting the Major Elements of an Empirical Research Report. Sample Empirical Research Reports. Writer's Guides and Other Resources. 25. Writing Reader-Centered Feasibility Reports. Features of Feasibility Reports That Help You. The Questions Readers Ask Most Often. Superstructure for Feasibility Reports. Guiding You Through the Process of Preparing Feasibility Reports. Crafting the Major Elements of a Feasibility Report. Sample Feasibility Report. Writer's Guides and Other Resources. 26. Writing Reader-Centered Progress Reports. Typical Writing Situations. Readers' Concern with the Future. The Questions Readers Ask Most Often. Superstructure for Progress Reports. Features of Progress Reports That Help You. Guiding You Through the Process of Preparing Progress Reports. Crafting the Major Elements of a Progress Report. Tone in Progress Reports. Writer's Guides and Other Resources. 27. Writing Reader-Centered Instructions. Features of Instructions That Help You. The Questions Readers Ask Most Often. Superstructure for Instructions. Guiding You Through the Process of Preparing Instructions. Crafting the Major Elements of Instructions. Web Page Instructions. Digital Movie Instructions. Writer's Guide and Other Resources. APPENDIX A: DOCUMENTING YOUR SOURCES. Choosing a Format for Documentation. Deciding Where to Place In-Text Citations. Writing APA In-Text Citations. Writing An APA References List. Writing MLA In-Text Citations. Writing an MLA Works Cited List. APPENDIX B: PROJECTS. Project 1 Resume and Job Application Letter. Project 2 Digital Portfolio. Project 3 Informational Web Site. Project 4 Informational Page. Project 5 Unsolicited Recommendation. Project 6 Brochure. Project 7 Instructions. Project 8 Digital Movie Instructions. Project 9 User Test and Report. Project 10 Project Proposal. Project 11 Progress Report. Project 12 Formal Report or Proposal. Project 13 Oral Briefing I: Project Plans. Project 14 Oral Briefing II: Project Results.